“The Constitution is suffering.” That was the message sent July 16 by Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
The purpose of the letter was to ask Holder “to get involved personally in assessing the Constitutional issues raised by Microsoft and other companies that have repeatedly asked to share publicly more complete information about how we handle national security requests for customer information.”
The “requests for customer information” referred to by Smith are part of the PRISM program exposed in the cache of National Security Agency (NSA) documents leaked by whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Under PRISM, the NSA and the FBI are “tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person's movements and contacts over time,” as reported by the Washington Post.
Microsoft’s sudden concern for the health of the Constitution is curious given the substantial evidence of their covert collusion in the PRISM program.
Consider, for example, the information published by the Guardian (U.K.) on July 12:
Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.
Following that claim, the paper then enumerates specific examples of Microsoft’s disregard for the very principles of liberty they purport to hold as “first and foremost” and that they seek protection of from Eric Holder. Here are some of the Guardian’s revelations:
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